I'm baaaaaaack.

Hoarding All the Glitter Since 2001.

15 September 2010

Take a break and then look what happens.

1. Although I think it's depressingly likely that Michelle Rhee ends up in California, compressing all issues in education to bad teachers and getting favorable press despite her proclivity to demean her allies by mimicking them in funny voices, I hold out the hope she ends up far, far from the Bay Area.

2. Man, take a one meeting break from reading SFUSD BoE agendas and the National Urban Alliance contract shows up again.  I don't really understand what these overpaid independent contractors have other professionals in presenting the same graphic organizers that totally blew teachers' minds fifteen years ago.  Nor do I really understand why the various NUA contracts are the biggest bugbear for budget watchers; SFUSD drops unrestricted money all over the place.  (Again: I do read those agendas, and contrary to the belief of those with financial control in SFUSD, education funding isn't that complicated.)

That said, piddly teacher stimulus or not, I still hold that the A #1 way to improve the learning experience of poor children of color is to dramatically lower class sizes, and if we have fat piles of money for contracts, I strongly support teacher contracts over consultant contracts.

Based on my reading of the gutted Harkin bill, I think the federal teacher bailout money could be used to hire consultants for PD, and that is just too depressing for words.

One of my Donors Choose projects got posted on the Stephen Colbert challenge.  Funded in an hour.  TV is powerful, I see.


rpnorton said...

E Rat, the NUA contract was voted down (temporarily, due to the absence of two Commissioners who likely would have supported it. I'm sure the Superintendent will bring it back at the next meeting and it will pass.)
I wrote about my objections to the contract here:

E. Rat said...

Thanks for the link.

Having not been through the training, I can't discount that it is incredible, practice-changing stuff. Still, I have seen a lot of the materials the NUA provides, and not one of them was much different than (and often the same as) materials I have received at other PDs or through reading, etc. Generally I am not enthusiastic about consultant contracts, particularly ones that employ independent contractors through an umbrella organization or that offer knowledge that I believe the district could source locally.

There are a lot of teachers in SFUSD who are doing wonderful things to close the opportunity gap, and tapping their knowledge - maybe making a simple database for teachers to use - would be cheaper, if more difficult, than outsourcing.